April 30, 2014 7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Syfy Adapting Frank Miller's DC Comics Series 'Ronin,' Oni Press' 'Letter 44' (Exclusive)
Syfy is joining the comic book craze.
The NBCUniversal-owned cable network is developing Frank Miller's DC Comic series Ronin and Oni Press' political space drama Letter 44, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Following Darren Aronofsky's attempt to remake the samurai drama for the big screen, Syfy will produce DC's six-issue comic series Ronin as a potential miniseries. From Warner Horizon Television and DC Entertainment, Ronin was written and drawn by Miller (Sin City, 300). The comics, which were published every six weeks between 1983-84, centers on a legendary warrior -- the Ronin, a dishonored, masterless 13th century samurai -- who is mystically given a second chance to avenge his master's death. He finds himself suddenly reborn in a futuristic and corrupt 21st century New York where he must defeat ancient demon Agat, the reincarnation of his master's killer.
Syfy's takes place eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon. He awakens in a futuristic, nihilistic New York in the body of Billy, a medical experiment. Now Billy/Ronin is chasing the demon, which has reawakened. Both parties want control of a sword with magical properties and will stop at nothing to get it back.
A search is under way for a writer and the exact number of episodes in the Syfy miniseries has not yet been determined.
Meanwhile, the Ronin film adaptation has been lingering in development at New Line since 1998. Joby Harold and Chad St. John most recently signed on to pen the script with Gianni Nunnari on board to produce.
For Miller, this would mark the prolific and award-winning comics scribe's first title to be adapted for TV. His works have been turned into several feature films, including Sin City and its sequel, Daredevil and 300.
Meanwhile, the network is developing Oni's Letter 44 as a series. The drama is based on Charles Soule's ongoing monthly series that launched in October. Terminator 3's Jonathan Mostow will pen the script, exec produce and direct the pilot, should it move ahead. The story revolves around Stephen Blades, the new president of the U.S. who learns, via a letter from his predecessor, that seven years earlier, NASA discovered an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. A crew of heroic astronauts was sent to investigate and they're nearing the conclusion of their epic journey.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's Eric Gitter and Peter Schwerin (The Flock) will exec produce via their Closed on Mondays banner. Terra Nova alum Rene Echevarria is also on board to exec produce the Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions co-production.
A formal announcement on both projects is expected to come during Syfy's upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers on April 30.
Ronin marks the latest DC Comics title to be adapted for TV. WGN America is developing Scalped; The Flash, iZombie and Hourman are in the works at The CW, NBC is prepping Constantine, AMC is readying Preacher; and Fox's Batman prequel Gotham -- which tells the story of Commissioner Jim Gordon -- is considered a lock for a series order, while that network is also developing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
For Syfy's part, Ronin would mark the network's latest miniseries and join Ascention, a six-hour space opera. Letter 44 would be a natural fit for the cabler, which is looking to return to its sci-fi/fantasy series roots that it once ruled with Battlestar Galactia. Syfy has been busy in the past few months, adding series pickups to zombie drama Z Nation and space drama The Expanse. The network also has a new slate of originals that includes Dominion and 12 Monkeys, both based on feature films; as well as mythology drama Olympus joining a slate that includes Helix, Lost Girl, Defiance and more.